Perhaps one of France’s most famous regions, rich in cultural tradition and art history, this trip will introduce its participants to the south-eastern area of Provence. Prehistoric cave paintings, Roman ruins, photography, film, radical new architecture and even virtual reality will be encountered, with a range of experiences covering the ancient to the avant-garde. Workshops with the area’s photography students will allow us to receive local perspectives on these phenomena.
This trip is for people who are eager to approach an area renowned for its natural beauty from another perspective, namely, through cultural history and art history. This specific approach enables a discussion of early image production, with a consideration of how this continues to resonate with modern and contemporary art practices including new media and photography.
Time will be divided between laid-back moments at a countryside home, visiting the local famers market, exploring the annual summer photography festival, Les Rencontres d'Arles—which has been running since the 1970s—and walking at the wild beach of Carmague. We will discuss the history of film when visiting the Mediterranean harbour city of La Ciotat, where the Lumière brothers shot the early black-and-white movie L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat in 1895. You will participate in an interactive comparison of traditional museums and architect Frank Gehry's new building for contemporary art, The Luma Foundation.
A boat trip will take us to Tarascon—a settlement dating back to the late Bronze Age—and will allow us to work with the producers of Provence’s traditional and regional textiles. Alongside, we will walk in the landscape of Provence while sampling delicious food to understand the region’s cultural heritage, coming together to share our reflections.
The motto of this trip is, “people are visual communicators”, which takes its inspiration from the Chauvet cave paintings. These are 32,000 years old, and our visit to see them is a highlight of this trip. By looking, sharing and learning we will communicate with each other, the landscape, the past and the present.